10 Essentials to Pack for the Perfect Summer Picnic

updated Jun 23, 2021
The Kitchn received compensation for this post, which was written and edited independently by our editorial team.
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Picnic season is here, and we couldn’t be happier! Nothing beats heading out to the park on a sunny day for yummy food, cold drinks, and fun with friends — isn’t that what summer’s all about? If you’re a picnicking regular, then it’s time to invest in some high-quality picnic essentials that will make your outings even more enjoyable. Below, we’ve rounded up some must-haves for this summer.

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No picnic is complete without a good blanket. This cozy, roomy picnic blanket is perfect for a group of friends — it measures 60" x 80" — and folds up into a compact carrying case with an adjustable strap. Made from high-quality polyester fleece, it's super comfy to sit on, and the water-resistant backing makes sure that the blanket (and you) won't get damp. Choose between a jade plaid pattern or blue and gold stripes.

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was $39.99

There's nothing more irritating than swatting away mosquitos while you're trying to enjoy a nice picnic or outdoor happy hour. With this mosquito repeller from Thermacell, you and your crew can say goodbye to bugs with just one click of a button. It creates a 20-foot zone of protection and repels mosquitos without using any harmful chemicals or sprays on your skin, plus it can be recharged while in use to extend run time.

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Whether you're planning a romantic afternoon date or a Girls' Night Out in the park, these stakes safely hold your wine glasses and bottle so nothing breaks or spills. The set comes with four wine glass holders and one wine bottle holder, all of which are super easy to use. Simply poke them into the ground and you're all set.

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Bed Bath & Beyond

Whether you're sipping on lemonade, iced tea, or rosé, this silicone straw set will make your picnic extra colorful (and sustainable!) for just $5. The set of six comes with a rainbow of straws in red, orange, light blue, dark blue, purple, and gray. They're food safe and BPA free, so there's no need to worry about anything icky getting in your drink, and they can even be cut to fit smaller cups. And since washing straws isn't easy, the set comes with a handy straw brush.

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Elevate your picnic dining game with this handy silverware and dish kit. It comes with two plates, forks, spoons, and serrated knives, plus one butter knife and a cutting board, all contained in a cute, compact green bag. Whether you're throwing together a mini charcuterie board on the cutting board or serving up pasta salad on the plates, this kit is an easy and space-saving way to tote all of your dining necessities.

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This short folding table is ideal for a food-focused picnic. It's low to the ground — the legs can be adjusted to 4.7" or 6.7", depending on your preference — making it the perfect height for your plates and cups while you're sitting on the ground. It folds up for easy storage, plus it comes with a convenient carrying bag.

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Herschel Supply Co.

This roomy tote stores more than just food and drinks — with three outer pockets, you can keep important items like your phone, keys, or portable speaker accessible. The leakproof liner keeps the interior contents cool and makes sure the bag doesn't drip. Bonus: It comes with an additional insulated bottle sleeve to keep your drink cold as you sip.

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Bed Bath & Beyond

These 100 percent cotton kitchen towels can tackle just about any task, from scrubbing to polishing to sopping up spills. The towels come in six appealing colors — mist, navy, rust, black, grey, and red — and each set features four different towel designs, including a French-inspired windowpane plaid cotton slub style. These versatile towels are highly absorbent and machine washable, making them a great napkin substitute for your picnic (no need to worry about grass stains!).

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was $29.99

You can't have a picnic without sustenance, but it can be hard to lug all of your gear around without the food getting squished. With these plastic and silicone containers, you can be sure that your food will be transported safely. They range in size from eight ounces to 101 ounces (perfect for watermelon slices!) and are leak-proof, so no need to worry about spillage while en route.

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Lugging all of your gear to and from your picnic spot can be a hassle, which is why we love these collapsible cups from Stojo. They hold 16 ounces of liquid, and when you've emptied the cup, simply press down on the lid and the base to form a compact little disc, toss it into your bag, and you're on your way (with extra space in your tote). Plus, these cups come with a reusable straw, so it's easy to sip your beverage of choice.